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Gardening Skills

Growing your own fruits and vegetables makes vegetarian cooking a joyful exploration of fresh-from-the-garden tastes and textures. Here, you'll find guidelines for growing your own food to use in your vegetarian and vegan dishes.

Gardening 101: Fall Veg Planting

Autumn is prime-time for growing fresh food—including garlic! 

Fall is, in many ways, the best time to plant vegetables. The soil is warmer than in spring, so plants grow more quickly. The early days of autumn tend to be balmy, with occasional spells of rain—ideal conditions for young plants to get established. Peak seasons for bugs and weeds have passed. And best of all, autumn gardening lets you enjoy the simple pleasure of eating homegrown food through Thanksgiving. 
 

How to Save Your Summer Herbs

Air-drying is a simple, aromatic way to enjoy herbs year-round

The key to growing an abundant harvest of delicious homegrown vegetables and fruits is right below your feet. Pay attention to building fertile soil when you start your garden (even if it’s in containers), and do so every season thereafter, and little ongoing maintenance will be required. Here are the critical steps:

You don’t need acres of land and the sweat of your brow to grow vegetables—a few big pots can yield a bountiful and delicious harvest, with less work. Gardening in containers keeps produce off the ground, making diseases less likely. If a plant is wilting in the sun, simply move it into the shade. And did we mention that harvesting is a breeze?

Ripe fruit hanging from trees right outside your door sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? If you have a sunny spot in your yard or just on a balcony, you can cultivate homegrown apples, cherries, citrus, peaches, and more. Dwarf trees fit into small spaces yet bear bushels of full-sized fruit. Many thrive in containers, so you don’t even need a yard for planting. That puts them in reach of just about anyone who loves fresh, healthy food.   

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Do you have limited garden space, yet yearn to grow both radishes and roses? Time to try foodscaping, the artful combination of cultivating vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. Also called edible landscaping, this practice offers the best of all worlds for small or minimally sunny properties, or where a traditional vegetable garden would look out of place—say, in a front yard.

The easiest way to cheer up your kitchen in the middle of winter? Grow herbs indoors.  With a few fresh sprigs at your fingertips, you can add instant flavor to everything from smoothies to soups.

Most herbs do well in pots, but not all thrive inside: bay, mint, Italian parsley, chives, and variegated lemon thyme are a few of your best options. Below, we offer expert advice to ensure you’ll have a steady supply of these five hardy favorites all season long.

Photo courtesy of The Edible Garden Project

Don’t be fooled by the spring green of the leaves in that picture. My sorrel plant is thriving in pale, verdant color right now, in December. As all of my other herbs have given up, sorrel has become my go-to aromatic, especially since I discovered that the more I pick it, the better it grows.

Last year when I was shopping for fall-to-winter plants that would brighten up the front of my house, I balked at the cost. Flats of pansies and small pots of mums seemed exorbitantly expensive when I realized they’d only last a month or so before it got too cold. Even the coleus and dusty miller on sale at the greenhouse seemed pricey.

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